My name is Blakelynn Rafter and this is the story of how I survived.
I go by Blake because who in their right mind would name their child Blakelynn, but anyway moving on. I’m 20 years old, blue eyes, shoulder length chestnut hair, average height, thin but on the muscular side. I feel like I’m filling out a dating profile. My normal style is usually some type of jeans, my favorite tall, black leather boots, and a graphic tee or a hoodie. People have told me that my face looks mildly angry or disappointed all the time, but when I smile (which is rare) it lights up the room(gag) and makes me a totally new person. Have I bored you to death yet? I live in a small, one bedroom apartment on top of a cafe. I work at said cafe as a cook so I get to take home the scraps and my rent is a little lower. I will save you the misfortune of finding out later, but this is kind of a love story/action story/won’t-believe-it-unless-you-were-there story.
Today was the day I found out that I was an action hero(or a complete moron). I had to do what normal people do when their normal cars run out of normal gas. I pulled up to the station that I had used since I started driving. Being from a small town, it only had four pumps and never had a line up. Usually I would just pay at the pump, but I was hungry so I decided to go in and get something to eat. I finished pumping with the million little clicks to get it on an even amount.
Click click. $34.96.
Click click. $34.98
Click click. $34.99.
Click clik. $35.01.
“Uhhh,” I sighed.
I hung my head in disgust before replacing the nozzle and closing my gas thing(gas hole? No. Nevermind that). As I was walking to the store, I noticed that there were two suspicious looking people and the cashier inside. The cashier was kind of cute with his shaggy black hair and nerdy graphic tee. Before I knew it I was smiling to myself like an idiot. I composed myself and entered the store.
One of the customers was at the counter talking to the cashier. He looked anxious, throwing glances my way. The other customer was at the back of the store looking at candy. By the time I grabbed a package of crackers and a pop and made it back to the counter, the first customer was gone. The cashier(Derek, according to his nametag) still looked like he could snap any second. After placing my food on the counter I happened to glance at one of those round mirror things that they hang on the ceiling for surveillance. What I saw made me look twice and hope that the quick flash of surprise didn’t register on my face.
The second customer was making his way toward the counter with a gun. I looked Derek right in the eyes and flashed a smile. He looked squirmy and confused.
“Morning,” I said happily.
“Morn-” his voice cracked. He cleared his throat and tried again. “Morning.”
I couldn’t help but laugh at him; he looked terrified. I quickly glanced back at the mirror. The guy with the gun was only about five feet away now. Recognition and new look of terror flashed on Derek’s face. He must have realized what I kept looking at.
“Sooo,” I said.
He scrunched his face in confusion, which was adorable. I nodded at my stuff on the counter.
“Oh yeah, my job,” he said and genuinely smiled. His smile was small and shy, but I could have looked at it all day.
“35.01 in gas too,” I said emphasising the .01.
“.01? Didn’t make it?” He asked shaking his head.
I could tell he was getting more comfortable.
“Too many clicks,” I said.
He smiled and then it was replaced by a scared expression. He took a small step toward the counter.
“38.47,” he said stiffly.
I reached into my jacket pocket and pulled out two twenties. Before I could hand them to Derek something jabbed me in the back. I knew it had to be the guy’s gun. I made my decision within seconds(very stupid decision, do NOT try). I spun around and grabbed the man’s weapon arm which jarred the gun loose. I then proceeded to kick him in the chest, sending him crashing into a granola bar display. The look on his face was priceless. I didn’t have time to relish in that glory though. I glanced into the mirror at the back of the store and watched as another guy behind the counter shoved Derek into the lottery ticket display and come around the counter.
I ducked as he swung at me. Then turning around I grabbed his arm, twisted it around behind his back, and smashed his head on the counter. As he crumpled to the floor, I reached down and picked up my money. Behind the counter, Derek was emerging from the ticket display.
“You alright?” I asked.
He turned to me rubbing his elbow. “Yeah, you?”
“I probably just made the worst decision known to man, but I feel awesome!”
He tousled his hair with his hand and looked down at me(he was tall not condescending). He had stunning green eyes shining like gems. He was looking at me like no one has ever done before. Suddenly I had small little butterflies in my stomach(girly, I know). He gave me a shy smile and looked away. I put the twenties on the counter, put my crackers in my pocket, and picked up my pop.
“Keep the change,” I said.
“You expect me to take this after you saved my life?” He asked.
“Well, you’re still alive so you still have a business to run.”
“But-” I held up my hand to silence him.
“You might want to call the cops before they wake up. And I’m pretty sure they will want to talk to me.”
“That’s probably a good idea.” While he was calling I grabbed a shopping basket and started picking up granola bars. After he hung up he came over to where I was.
“What are you doing?” He asked.
I gave him a big grin and held up the basket. “Shopping.”
He laughed softly and helped me pick up the bars.
“Where did you learn all those ninja moves?”
“Then how did you know what to do?”
“I guess I watch too much TV.” I looked up and noticed that he was staring at me. I grinned and his face turned red as he quickly looked away.
“Be right back,” he said. He walked over to the door and flipped the sign to closed.
“What about all your business?” I asked.
“I’m pretty sure you are the only one who uses this station.”
“It’s always the cheapest.”
“I see you here all the time, but I think this is the first time you have actually come into the store.”
“If I knew it was going to be action movie butt-kicking I would come in all the time.”
We both laughed and I couldn’t help glancing at him from the corner of my eye. The cops showed up ten minutes later and grilled us with questions, watched the surveillance footage, grilled me with more questions, then finally they took the two men and left. I helped Derek clean up and restock the granola bars and lottery tickets.
“Well I guess I should go, the world needs me,” I said.
“Come back when you decide on a superhero name. I want to know who to call.”
“Deal, but for now you can just call me Blake.”
I gave him one last smile and headed back to my car feeling extremely floaty and happy. Before I got in my car I looked back and waved to him; he waved back. From that day on I always went in to pay for my gas.
A couple weeks later we went on our first official date. He stood at my front door wearing dark jeans, skater shoes, and a Grumpy Cat shirt under a black leather jacket. I was relieved that I had made the right choice of clothing, deciding on light skinny jeans, black calf high leather boots, and a baggy knit sweater. My chestnut hair was straightened so that it just touched my shoulders.
“Thank you for not showing up in a suit,” I said.
Derek smiled. “I don’t do suits.”
“Good, ‘cause I don’t do dresses.”
“I could have guessed that.”
“We still have a few minutes, come in.”
Derek walked through the door and I closed it behind him. He smelled like the good kind of men’s body wash(no, I don’t go around huffin’ body wash). I gestured for him to sit on my pathetic looking brown leather couch.
“Oof,” he said as he sunk into the cushion.
“Yeah, it’s a bit worn,”
“This is a nice place.”
I sat down cross-legged on the opposite end of the couch. “It’s not much, but it is cozy.”
“How long have you lived here?” Derek asked.
“20 years. You?”
“18, I spent two years in New York studying animation.”
“So you can make animations! That’s awesome. I studied technical engineering here for four years.”
At this he stared at me in awe. He threw his arms up.
“Okay, you win.”
“Not really, I still only work at a cafe.”
“I work at a gas station. I’m not out there making a blockbuster hit movie.”
“Have you made anything yet?”
“A few short videos just to test different software.”
“I would love to see them sometime.”
The sun was beginning to set dimming my living room. Derek checked his phone.
“Ready to go?” He asked.
“Yep. Where are we going?”
“How does B-Dubs sound?”
“Wings!” I jumped up off the couch and waited for Derek to get up. He tried to get himself out of the sunken cushion with no luck. He just sat there flailing his arms and legs trying to get his torso out. I laughed at him as I grabbed his hands and yanked him off the couch. He steadied himself a few inches from me. We stood there awkwardly staring at each other for a few seconds before he released one of my hands and led me to the door. I locked the door behind us and we walked hand in hand down the stairs to his car. It felt so natural to be with him, talking, holding hands. It was like we had been doing it forever.
We chose to sit at the bar even though neither of us were drinking age. There were three other people and us at the bar.
“Hello, my Name is Rachel and I will be your server tonight,” the waitress said. “Can I start you off with something to drink?”
“I’ll have a Sierra Mist please,” Derek said.
“Same for me,” I said.
“Alright, I’ll be right back with those,” Rachel said.
“All you can eat wings sound good?” Derek asked.
“Sweet barbeque sauce?”
Derek and I glanced at the group of three at the end of the bar as they went into a fit of laughter. They looked to be in their mid thirties and by their lean muscular build they were probably athletes. Rachel brought us our drinks and was just about to speak when one of the guys dropped their beer bottle to the floor. The glass shattered and beer soaked his feet.
“I’ll be right back,” Rachel said. “I’ve told them to leave three times already, but I technically can’t stop selling them beer until they’ve had six each.”
One of the guys nodded in our direction and said something to one of his friends while the waitress cleaned up the mess. Another fit of laughter.
“Sorry about that,” Rachel said. “Are we ready to order?”
“It’s alright,” Derek said. “We’ll have the all you can eat wings with sweet barbeque sauce.”
“Would you like the wings in one tray or two?” Rachel asked.
“Two,” Derek and I said in unison.
We looked at each other and smiled.
“You two are adorable,” Rachel said. “I’ll put your order right in.”
“Did you hear that?” I asked.
“Yeah, we’re adorable,” Derek said.
“So, what are we doing next?”
“I figured I would keep it generic with dinner and a movie.”
“I’m going to keep you in suspense and not tell.”
I took a sip of my drink.
“What’s wrong?” He asked.
“What? Oh, nothing. I was just trying to figure out the movie,” I said, but I could tell he didn’t believe me.
All was forgotten though when Rachel arrived with our first baskets of wings. We didn’t talk for awhile while we devoured our wings and sucked off our fingers. After three baskets I was beginning to feel full, but I was determined to beat Derek in the wing count.
“Alright, I’m done,” Derek said pushing away his fourth empty basket.
“I win,” I groaned half-heartedly. I finished the third wing in my fifth basket before pushing it away.
“I don’t think I care right now,” Derek weezed.
“More wings?” Rachel asked.
“Uhhhhhh,” Derek and I groaned.
Rachel smiled. “I’ll take that as a no.”
We sat in silence again while we waited for our wings to settle. One of the guys from the drunk group stumbled over to our section and leaned on the counter next to me.
“Hey baby,” he said. “Whatta you say we get outta here?”
“Whatta you say we don’t,” I said imitating his slur.
“Don’t you wanna spend your time with a real man?”
“I could be wrong, honeslty I hope I’m not, but I’m pretty sure he’s a man,” I said. Derek stifled a snort.
The drunk guy seemed agitated. “He’s just an emo twig freak. Come hang with us.”
“I don’t care, he’s my twig freak.” (I know that was probably the stupidest thing I have ever said). This time Derek laughed out loud.
“Something funny freak?” the guy asked.
Derek didn’t respond, he just grinned at the drunk.
The drunk guy took a step towards Derek. “I asked you a question.”
“Why don’t you back off?” Derek said.
“Why don’t you find a girl in your league,” the drunk said and turned back to me. “So you and me?”
“She’s with me,” Derek said.
The drunk guy turned on his heel and threw a hard swing at Derek’s nose. They connected with a sickening crunch and Derek stumbled to the floor holding his gushing nose.
“Hey! You need to leave!” Rachel shouted.
I jumped up off my stool and made a move toward Derek. The drunk grabbed my wrist tightly.
“Let go!” I said thrashing my arm.
“You’re coming with me,” the drunk said.
“No, I’m not,” I said.
I kicked him in the groin and as he bent over in pain I grabbed his hair and slammed his head on my stool. His other two buddies stumbled to the door and left. I knelt down next to Derek and swabbed up some of the blood with a napkin.
“It looks broken,” I told him. I noticed that his eyes were rimmed with tears. Somehow that made me like him even more. He nodded, then winced. “
Rachel can I get those last few wings in a box please? And I’m sorry about this.” I paid the bill and left an extra tip before taking my wings(don’t judge, I wasn’t wasting wings) and helping Derek to his feet. I put one arm around his waist as we walked to his car.
“I need the keys,” I said.
He used his clean hand and reached into his pocket. He pulled out the keys and handed them to me. I drove him to the hospital and held his hand as the doctors pushed his nose back in place. I thought he was going to crush every bone in my hand before the doctor was done. After his nose was back in place, I cleaned the blood off his face. We sat in the waiting room for an hour or so while we waited for the release papers.
“Feel better?” I asked tracing circles on that back of his hand with my thumb.
“I feel like the useless sidekick,” He said.
“Why?” I laughed.
“You’re always fighting crime and rescuing me.”
“You know what I mean.”
“It’s not like I ask for it.”
“I know.” He changed the subject, “We can still make the movie if you want.”
“Or we can go back to my place and watch something on Netflix.”
“That sounds good. I don’t feel like going out in public right now.”
Back at my apartment, we kicked off our shoes, curled up on the couch and started an episode of NCIS. Halfway through the episode Derek fell asleep with his arm around my shoulders. I smiled to myself, turned the TV off, and rested my head on his chest and fell asleep instantly.
He laughed. No joke, he actually had the nerve to laugh. “It’s a surprise.”
“I don’t like surprises.”
“Yes you do, you told me that on our third date,” he countered.
He got me, I really do love surprises as long as they’re good ones. Not like ‘Oh sorry honey, Mr fuzzie ran away’ or ‘No Mr Fuzzie didn’t really run away, he died.’ Mr Fuzzie was my hamster when I was six. My dad told me he ran away and because I was six I believed that hamsters could run away.When I was thirteen, I finally realized that hamsters were not capable of running away. I came home furious with my dad and yelled at him, then cried about Mr Fuzzie, then finally got over it.
“It had better be a good surprise.” I said.
“It’s no Mr. Fuzzie if that’s what you’re worried about,” he said.
“How do you know about Mr. Fuzzie?”
“Our second movie night, you told me.”
I crossed my arms and huffed. Sometimes he annoys me with how much he remembers me telling him.
He laughed softly, pulled me back into his arms, and kissed my forehead.